Blog posts by year and month March 2012

Posts (103)

  1. Welsh singer, songwriter and children's book author Cerys Matthews has been announced as one of three new judges for the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize. Matthews joins Guardian literary journalist Nicholas Wroe and Media Wales columnist Carolyn Hitt as the new faces on the judging panel,which also co...

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  2. More fog and mist today but in parts of Wales where the sun has poked through there have been some stunning vistas thsi week. Here are a few interesting photos from this week: Early morning mist over the Llyn Peninsula by Barri Elford. Looking down on Rhondda Fawr by Mike Davies. ...

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  3. Ten years ago, in the year of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, Newport was awarded city status. The 2002 accolade proved third time lucky for the Gwent town after two unsuccessful bids in the 1990s. By becoming a city Newport joined Bangor, Cardiff, Swansea and St Davids as Wales' cities;...

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  4. With a direction like this (for the flutes incidentally - violas aren't best known for their birdlike qualities), it could mean only one thing - the Doctor Who team were back in Hoddinott Hall! On Monday evening, along with Doctor Who orchestrator, Ben Foster, the BBC National Orchestra of Wa...

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  5. The latest exhibition at Ffotogallery explores the relationship between science, museology and art. Wonder Chamber is a solo exhibition of work by Wales-based artist Dr Karen Ingham, who is also a reader in Art, Science and Technology Interactions at Swansea Metropolitan University. Piece of Mind Mask, 2010 © Karen Ingham Ingham's work explores how scientific ideas and processes inform contemporary image making. This exhibition at the Penarth-based gallery brings together various bodies of work that she has created over the past decade. The exhibition plays with the idea of the Wunderkammer, and how diverse and bizarre items on display in museums centuries ago were divided into a standard classification system. One of the key ideas in Ingham's practice is to play on and subvert the way objects are collected, archived and displayed in science museums, putting them in the service of contemporary art. The Eye of the Lens, 2010 © Karen Ingham Wonder Chamber runs at Ffotogallery at Turner House, Plymouth Rd in Penarth until 14 April 2012. Karen Ingham will give a talk about her work and the exhibition on Thursday 22 March at 6.30pm. The event is free but booking is essential, so for further details visit ffotogallery.org.

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  6. This Saturday 75,000 Welsh rugby fans will be recorded for a charity single to be released the very next day. During half time in the Wales v France Six Nations decider Welsh artist Paul Child will lead the crowd in a rendition of Cwm Rhondda (Bread Of Heaven), which will be recorded, mastere...

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  7. This weekend Wales will attempt to secure their third Six Nations Grand Slam in the past eight years. This year, though, they've got some musical support in the form of The Blims' Side Steps And Side Burns. The song, currently in the top five of iTunes' rock chart, is a sunny, acoustic-tinged...

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  8. Well it was very much a case of mixed fortunes over the weekend. Most of Wales enjoyed turned out sunny yesterday with temperatures in Usk soaring as high as 17.7 Celsius on Saturday. However, some places stayed grey, cool and misty with fog patches on the coast and at Mumbles Head the temperatures struggled to reach 10 Celsius. The reason for the generally dry and settled weather is high pressure. Under high pressure the air sinks and warms and this can create a temperature inversion. James Street went for a walk in the hills overlooking Treorchy and the rest of valley`s. Normally temperature falls with height but with an inversion it rises so that the top of a hill can be much warmer than the valley below. This has been the case today with cloud, mist and fog trapped beneath the inversion, while above the inversion, on higher ground, it is warm and sunny. At night if the sky is clear with little wind the temperature can drop like a stone. Last night for example, the temperature in Tredegar fell as low as 2 Celsius with ground frost but with plenty of sunshine today the temperature has soared to over 16 Celsius. There's more dry weather to come over the next few days but there are signs of a change on the way later in the week. The high pressure will move away and it is expected to turn more unsettled with some rain. Derek

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  9. Saturday evening's concert in Swansea held a great new find for me. I like it when that happens, when a piece of music you've never heard before, by a composer whose name rings only the faintest of bells, really grabs your imagination. Miklós Rósza's Three Hungarian Sketches was the first work on our programme (under the baton of conductor Roberto Minczuk). I don't know what it was, but it made me want to smile, to tap my feet, to really get carried away with it. It wasn't a work of great symbolic meaning, or a work that attempted to plumb the depths of the human experience, or anything like that. It was simply, in my opinion, a good piece of music. The work begins with a brisk capriccio movement, followed by a pastorale and a final frenzy of a danza. If Hungarian music were to be scored for the big screen, this is how it would sound. The viola section features quite prominently throughout; every good work should have at least one big viola moment and this had several. I don't think you need to be able to give an exact analytical answer as to why a work impresses itself upon you. It doesn't have to be some academically sophisticated work; I find myself every bit as engaged by beautiful folk music as I do by something like Berg's Violin Concerto (incidentally, one of my favourites, just in case you wanted to know). Perhaps that is the great power of music - the power to without reason be able to create a connection on some wordless level with the listener/performer. I think that is the difference between music that will stand the test of time and that which falls by the wayside. My father loves old films. The big biblical epics of the 1950s and 1960s like King Of Kings and Ben-Hur are right up his street. He can't read music, but loves it and has always commented on how great the scores in these old epics are. It turns out that Miklós Rósza was the composer of these scores, among many, many others. Rósza's music seems to be having a bit of a renaissance at the moment, with a new generation rediscovering not just his film scores, but also his other works. British violist Lawrence Power recorded Rósza's Viola Concerto in 2010 for the Hyperion label and his string quartets and trio have been creeping up on recital programmes with growing frequency over the last few years too. I for one will definitely be investigating further. This week the BBC National Orchestra of Wales will perform music from Doctor Who in two very special concerts. On Friday, our Sacher Series collaboration with Cardiff University continues. The programme for Friday's concert is really exciting. Music by Martin, Lutosławski, Stravinsky and Honegger may be a little outside of your comfort zones, but come along - you never know which work could surprise you. For tickets to Friday's Sacher Perspectives concert, at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff, call the orchestra's Audience Line on 0800 052 1812.

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  10. This week's show is now available via the BBC iPlayer. Please visit the link any time between now and the start of the next programme. This show - a no-holds-barred celebration of Welsh music in all its multifold shapes and forms - is a democratic affair. Maybe 'benevolent dictatorship' would be more accurate. What I'm trying to say is this: there are no headliners or scene stealers, each and every one of the 40-ish pieces of music exists in its own temporal zone of wonder. Man. In other words, we don't necessarily have an exclusive session or probing in depth interview with a 'star' to trumpet here, so I'll pretend that that is down to a philosophical stance rather than a lack of pull or forward planning. What you'll hear - should you click that iPlayer link - is three hours of ace, mostly Welsh music. There are wonderful new tracks from Future Of The Left, Doc Daneeka & Abigail Wyles and The School (I'm throwing a street party to celebrate their return later this afternoon, should you wish to come over... bring pop - obviously - and cupcakes) - and we have debut plays for Cousins, Magpie Instinct, Tender Prey, Televisor, Shrunken Heads, Dementio 13, Seconds From Ruin, Simon Love's Cock & Balls, Brother Cubs and Rachel Rimmer. And that's what fires me, the search for fascinating new Welsh artists, people whose creative visions I have never encountered hitherto. Man. It's the credo of the show for 2012: to not rest on its substantial laurels, relying on the ace that we already know about, but to seek new ace to interweave amongst the old ace. To that end, if you have any ace/new releases/demos/recommendations/observations/new similes, please address them to themysterytour@gmail.com. I prefer to receive demo submissions directly, as a high quality mp3 or download link, please. Elsewhere in this week's show, Alan Holmes reminds us of the gnarly smarts of APV, and Ben Hayes shares a track off a Patto album that'd cost you £200 in't' shops. TWO HUNDRED POUNDS! (no pence). Have an excellent, groove-filled, good vibe attuned week. Man. JULIE MURPHY - 'Piano Abstract' Pembrokeshire JULIE MURPHY - 'The Fountain' Pembrokeshire METHOD, THE - 'Art Gallery' Cardiff 60FT DOLLS - 'Yellow Candles' Newport SKINDRED - 'Cut Dem' Newport FUTURE OF THE LEFT - 'Camp Cappuccino ( Radio Edit )' Cardiff GOLDEN FABLE - 'Motorcycle Emptiness' Ewloe CUT RIBBONS - 'Walking On Wires' Llanelli GEORGIA RUTH - 'Bones ( Mastered Ep Version )' Aberystwyth / Cardiff SHY AND THE FIGHT - 'Breaks' Chester / Llangollen SCHOOL, THE - 'Never Thought I'd See The Day' Cardiff ALAN HOLMES - 'Spoken Contribution' Bangor A. P. V. - 'Could You Care' Anglesey COUSINS - 'Walk With The Dark' Pembrokeshire / Aberystwyth SAM AIREY - 'To All The Pieces Of The Puzzle' Anglesey QUICKSAILS - 'Empty And Full' Chicago, Welsh Label FALCON LAKE - 'Shores' Newport / Cardiff REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT, THE - 'Last Memories' Wrexham MAGPIE INSTINCT - 'Goalposts' Cardiff MR HUW - 'Y Ferch Dryloyw' Caernarfon FALLS - 'Naughty Strawberry' Deeside TENDER PREY - 'Bug Blood' Cardiff SUE DENIM - 'Brewster Mccloud' Bangor METABEATS - 'Eyeseeyou ( Featuring Dubbledge )' Cardiff DOC DANEEKA AND ABIGAIL WYLES - 'Toby Jug' Cardiff CASTOR - 'Through Light' Prestatyn TELEVISOR - 'Stand Up' Holyhead SHRUNKEN HEADS - 'Through The Roof' Chepstow DEMENTIO 13 - 'Crash Street' Cardiff KNICKERS - 'Darling' London / Cardiff Distribution LITTLE ARROW - 'Our Taste Is Violence' Cardiff SECONDS FROM RUIN - 'Distant Light' Valleys SIMON LOVE'S COCK & BALLS - 'It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time' Cardiff / London BROTHER CUBS - 'Best Times' Llantwit Major BEAR BEATS BAND, THE - 'Sunrise' Ruthin BEN HAYES - 'Spoken Contribution' Ruthin PATTO - 'The Man' London RACHEL RIMMER - 'The Waves' Swansea COUSINS - 'Look Good For The City' Pembrokeshire / Aberystwyth

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